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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Diary Entry - 1st May, 1917

Walford: By this the guns were becoming quite respectable, with a sandbag wall up on the bad side and a complete hood of camouflage over them. The mine had also advanced, and we were almost connected with the wireless people on our right. The ammunition had been stowed away too and was more safe than before, as we had a row of old Bosch shells on the north side of the road, including gas, and, intermingled with them were some 2,500 rounds of our own, without a wall of any sort to cover them. At ten a.m. I went to Kellagher's and we set off for the wagon line about eleven thirty, picking up our horses behind the crest near a detached gun of K's. On the way through Roclincourt we went to RAHQ, but, as K was a long while with Carrington, I went on. Driver Wrate, my groom, pointed me out a Bosch plane which had been brought down by one of ours earlier in the morning. There was a large crowd round it when I rode up and this is the tale I was told. Bosch fell some 3,000 feet then regained control and planed down to land but in doing so turned his machine gun onto a dump which he saw, trying to set it on fire with his tracer bullets. He was also supposed to have fired after landing, whereupon infuriated drivers rushed the two occupants and they were only saved from being lynched by military police. In the meantime they let go some pigeons and showed their anger by kicking holes in the machine and trying to smash the propeller. Not satisfied with this turn, they broke away while being marched down to Arras and in the end proceeded between four mounted police with two officers marching in front and two in rear. On arrival at the Mess, found the tent crowded, as the fifteenth, having been badly gassed and having some casualties, had had to evacuate their position on the previous night. Kershaw had been wounded, also some men suffered from gas. During the afternoon, Siggers helped me go through Bee's kit and it seemed to me several things were missing, such as a revolver. However, I sorted it out, destroying all papers and handing a lot of books with notes on battery and mess to Kershaw. Kellagher brought Medge over to tea and we rode back via his wagon lines to the guns. Siggers appeared to be a lot better – still a little stiff – and Cruickshanks who was at the CCs in Aubigny had his toe removed. During the afternoon Bosch shot at one of our balloons with a long-range gun, doing good shooting but failing to hit it. He also plumped a few five point nine into Arras, causing much consternation in the pay department, as he killed the field cashier's Sergeant, a most disturbing affair for such a man, who, to my knowledge has never suffered from being shelled before, as he is always out of range.

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